CPA Releases New Study of Healthcare Needs, report “Creating Healthy Communities”


 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, March 22, 2012


  • Emily Lee


CPA Releases Findings and Recommendations to Health Care Services Master Plan Taskforce

Download the report below.

San Francisco—Today, the Chinese Progressive Association released a new report, “Creating Healthy Communities: Making Healthcare Services Accessible in San Francisco,” which reveals the need for healthcare services in low-income communities, particularly the Excelsior and Chinatown. The report’s findings and recommendations are a result of over 800 health surveys conducted in these two neighborhoods of San Francisco, which asked residents about their healthcare needs and their ability to access healthcare services.

The report’s findings showed that immigrant communities like the Excelsior and Chinatown, face significant barriers to accessing healthcare services because of lower rates of insurance, higher dependence on public forms of insurance, and a reliance on public transit as a primary way to visit their health provider. In addition, communities in Southeast San Francisco like the Excelsior, face an additional barrier to accessing services because providers are located farther from the community, requiring longer travel times.

The report was presented at a City convened Taskforce meeting held in the Bayview community. The Taskforce is charged with creating a city-wide Health Care Services Master Plan, which will decide the city’s priorities and development of healthcare services for decades to come. The Taskforce members are composed of community stakeholders and organizations, as well as representatives from clinics and hospitals across the city.

Le Tim Ly, Member of the City Taskforce and Program Director at the Chinese Progressive Association said, “These results give clear direction to city agencies and health providers that they need to pay more attention to the needs of residents living in the Southeast of the city, like the Excelsior and Bayview. The fact that 1 in 4 people in Excelsior have to travel an hour or more just to visit their doctor is unacceptable. In an emergency situation, you just can’t waste that time.”

Mr. Ly and others on the Taskforce are recommending that the Master Plan should prioritize communities like the Excelsior and Chinatown, whose residents are 4 times more likely to be uninsured compared to the average San Franciscan. The report recommends that the city should incentivize the development of health care facilities by providers that serve historically underserved and uninsured populations, as well as require all healthcare providers serve a minimum percentage of Medi-Cal or Healthy SF patients and meet or exceed the average state levels of charity care.

Anna Lei, a 16-year-old youth leader who helped conduct the survey says, “My family relies on government health insurance, and we take public transit everywhere because we don’t have a car. When I was surveying people, many of them said they wished there were more services close by, and more places that would accept their insurance. While we may have world class healthcare in San Francisco, the reality is that a large part of our community can’t access it.”

Key findings

  • Respondents in Excelsior and Chinatown were 4 times more likely to be uninsured, compared to the average San Franciscan
  • More than half of Excelsior respondents, and almost ¾ of Chinatown respondents,  depend on government/publicly funded insurance
  • Proximity to home, insurance coverage, and language and culture all play important roles in how residents choose their particular healthcare provider.
  • Many residents in Excelsior and Chinatown rely on public transportation to access their healthcare provider.
  • Roughly 1 in every 4 Excelsior residents and 1 in every 7 Chinatown residents regularly spends 60 minutes or more traveling to see their health provider.


When deciding priorities for improving existing healthcare services and developing new services and facilities, policymakers and healthcare providers should:

  • Prioritize the needs of communities who have less providers located in their neighborhoods by incentivizing the development of health care facilities by providers that serve historically underserved and uninsured populations, including low-income, immigrant, and people of color communities
  • Prioritize the needs of those who are uninsured or rely on publicly funded insurance, such as ensuring all healthcare providers serve a minimum percentage of Medi-Cal or Healthy SF patients and meet or exceed the average state levels of charity care
  • Ensure health services are easily accessible by public transportation, including that transit stops are close to provider offices, that there is frequent service and several lines of service near the providers’ office, and efforts are made to address affordability of public transit
  • Increase the availability of interpretation services for limited English patients, particularly for common languages spoken in San Francisco (such as Chinese, Spanish, Tagalog)
  • Address cultural barriers by hiring providers and staff from the communities that they are serving and/or speak the languages of communities served, and develop appropriate outreach and service programs